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NBA tells teams to plan for empty arenas; LeBron says no way

The memo detailed potential actions that teams might need to take “if it were to become necessary to play a game with only essential staff present.”
Credit: AP
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, center, shoots as Milwaukee Bucks center Robin Lopez, left, and forward Giannis Antetokounmpo defend during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 6, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

NEW YORK — The NBA wants its teams to prepare to play without fans if necessary because of the coronavirus crisis.

But LeBron James already says he won't play basketball in an empty arena.

The league circulated a memo to its teams Friday telling them to prepare in case it becomes necessary to play games without fans or media, as sports leagues in Europe have already done.

The memo detailed potential actions that teams might need to take “if it were to become necessary to play a game with only essential staff present.”

When James was asked about that possibility after he led the Lakers to a win over the Milwaukee Bucks, James said it's “impossible” for him to play in an empty arena.

“I ain't playing,” he said.